String

Yesterday was busy. The results posting on the Sanday web site took far more energy and time than I had expected. The stats show that the effort was worthwhile, though and our new website took a real spike in the page hit count: 2,033 page views yesterday and 597 so far today. Our previous best was 300 page views in a day.

The Sports day itself seemed to be very successful, though I saw little of it in the school staff room. I did note that several records were broken, one of which had stood since the mid-Eighties. Sanday took the Schools Cup, the Senior Challenge Cup, the Millennium Cup and the Senior Relay quaich trophy. Westray won the Tug ‘O War. The Girls’, Women’s and Men’s Champions are all from Sanday, while a Westray lad is the Boys’ Champion. The Best Senior also hails from Sanday. A successful day!

I woke with a double-sided migraine this morning and both my eyes are painful. Rather than do anything demanding, I elected to sit and spin the carded fleece that I got in Stromness on Monday. I just chucked it at the wheel (spinner’s technical term!) and tried to make a softly spun, erratic slubby yarn. The erratic part was easy – it’s erratically prepared fleece. Not sure if I managed a consistent soft spin, though. It certainly looks like my early days string efforts…

I have no idea what fleece it is – in parts it is very fine and nice, with a really fine crimp and a bit of lustre. It may be a Shetland X, perhaps. Overall, it’s very clean. There’s some coarser yellow fleece in with it and some slightly dirty lumps. The dyed parts seem to be of a different quality to the white. The white is very greasy and pretty easy to spin.

No matter, it’s just a bit of light relief after being careful with the hand-dyed tops.

I am hoping to make a knittable single. I haven’t knitted singles before and I just want to play with it.

As I spun this stuff up my mind got to wandering (yes, it’s that easy to spin up). One of the things that I was thinking about was that we should perhaps dye some fleece for the kids’ activity session that we are doing. Nine year olds might have more fun with red and purple yarn than with sheep-coloured yarn?

I was also thinking about how I want to try weaving and what this yarn might look like in a deeply textural piece of woven material. Cushion cover stuff, perhaps.

And I also got to pondering how much I enjoy spinning when I have no idea what the final yarn will look like until I have skeined and washed it. I like that magical element of surprise that comes from spinning in the grease. I have  a bobbin full after about half an hour’s spinning. It’s all I can do to stop myself from washing it immediately to see what I have. But I think I’ll spin it all up first, and leave the twist to set a little before skeining and washing. I might give this the rough treatment when I wash it, and aim for a slightly felted finish to hold the soft single together better.

Or I may spin a fine ivory silk single and ply the two together. Then make a scarf of it.

Or spin a blue single to ply it to and make a chunky yarn that reminds me of a sunset sky, with blue background, and white clouds streaked with pink and purple.

I don’t know. All I do know is that I won’t ply the yarn onto itself.

Nell likes the smell of this raw fleece. She says it is yummy.

We took Nell’s bucket off this morning, to see how she would get on without it. So far we haven’t caught her chewing, licking, or scratching anywhere that she should not be. In fact, she has been very well behaved and seems somewhat stunned by the unexpected lightness about her head and neck. All she really wanted to do was get hold of her rawhide chew and… chew, chew, chew!

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